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How to Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

December 30, 2011 | Education | No Comments

Identity theft can be frightening and cause numerous problems.  It can ruin your credit; where it’s up to you to prove there is a problem and to fix the problem.   After discovering there is problem, you have to contact the credit companies and prove to them that you didn’t create the charges.  

Prevention of identity theft is the best way to prevent identity theft.  To do this you must protect yourself so your sensitive information isn’t easily accessible.  Do not leave credit card statements, bank account number or other types of sensitive information laying around for people to see.  Make it a habit to shred document before throwing them away.  Sensitive information that you need to keep needs to be locked away.

Important documents with personal and sensitive information are often sent via the mail which is vulnerable to theft.  To reduce using mail, have your statements only accessible online via secured websites and pay your bills online. You can also use services such as IdentityHawk for identity theft protection.

Below is a list of additional things you can do to prevent identity theft protection.

  • Pay your bills online.  This decreases the chance that paper bills or statements end up where others can easily find them.
  • Look over all your statements carefully.
  • Create secure passwords and guard them well.
  • Protect your social security number.
  • Check through all mail – even mail that seems like junk mail.  It could be from an account opened by someone else.
  • Decrease the amount of unsolicited credit card offers that come in the mail by visiting optoutprescreen.com and contacting the Direct Marketing Association to remove your name from mailing lists.  Shred the solicitations you do receive before throwing them out.
  • If possible, use a post office box, and do not put bill payments and checks in an unlocked mailbox.  
  • Have someone you trust pick up your mail when you are away.
  • Do not give out your credit card number.
  • Shred important documents containing your personal information.

 

If you are a victim of identity theft, here are several ways to deal with it:

  • Cancel any accounts that you think have been compromised.  This includes checking accounts.
  • Notify the credit reporting bureaus.  You only have to contact one, and they will contact the rest.
  • Make a report to the police.
  • Notify the post office.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration.
  • Make sure all of your accounts have passwords.
  • Place an alert on your credit report – an extended one is best, as it last for 7 years.
  • Keep good records.

 

 

 

 

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